The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion Review

An all-time favorite meant for long days on the trail.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $25 List | $20.74 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Durable, comfortable, wide temperature regulation, versatile, fitted
Cons:  Not ideal for hot temperatures, tall cut not best for all
Manufacturer:   Darn Tough
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 26, 2019
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 10
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Wicking and Breathability - 25% 7
  • Warmth - 20% 8
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Drying Speed - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion remains unbeaten by the competition for the last few years. The fabric is cozy and comfortable, the cut is protective and versatile, and the temperature regulation is off the charts. It's a solid gear choice for multi-day backpacking trips, day hikes, skiing, and more. We have taken it over summits, on very long trails, and on day hikes. Worn best with a pair of taller hiking boots, it provides great protection from tall and wet grasses, while offering the warmth you might need on a cold winter night. Even though it's called a "full cushion" sock, it's surprisingly lightweight and thin. It's the best sock out there, boasting longevity that'll last you for hundreds of miles on the trail. Better yet, Darn Tough has built a sock for both men and women specifically!

Also check out: Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion - Women's


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $20.74 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$26.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$15.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$25.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$15 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Durable, comfortable, wide temperature regulation, versatile, fittedGreat thermoregulation, incredibly comfortable, durabilityBreathable, comfortable, well-fitted, thin materials, merino-wool blend, no itchComfortable, breathable, quick-to-dry, calf-height design, compatible with hiking boots & shoesIncredible durability, quick to dry, accommodates a liner, comfortable
Cons Not ideal for hot temperatures, tall cut not best for allSlow to dry, expensiveLacks warmth in cold temperaturesExpensive, not suited for hot weatherLoose fit, lacks compression paneling, loses wicking capabilities in cold weather
Bottom Line An all-time favorite meant for long days on the trail.A hiking sock that performs well through all seasons for any distance.This merino-wool blend hiker is breathable and thin and performs well during high and low intensity activities.This versatile hiking sock is a perfect option for everything from short to long days on the trail.This high value sock is a synthetic full-length midweight sock with exemplary durability and drying speed.
Rating Categories Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion Smartwool PhD Pro Light Crew Light Hiker Micro Crew Damascus Medium Weight Techn... Wigwam Hiking Outdoor Pro
Comfort (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Wicking And Breathability (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Warmth (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Durability (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Drying Speed (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
Specs Darn Tough Hiker... Smartwool PhD Pro... Light Hiker Micro... Damascus Medium... Wigwam Hiking...
Material 66% merino wool, 32% nylon, 2% lycra spandex 62% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, 2% Elastane 40% merino wool, 56% nylon, 4% lycra spandex 52% US Merino Wool, 45% Nylon, 3% LYCRA Spandex 41% polypropylene, 34% acrylic, 23% stretch nylon, 1% stretch polyester, 1% spandex
Sock Category Midweight Lightweight Lightweight Midweight Midweight
Length High calf Lower calf High ankle Lower calf Lower calf
Guarantee Policy Lifetime guarantee 2 year satisfaction guarantee Lifetime guarantee Lifetime guarantee 2 year guarantee

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Darn Tough Full Cushion is our favorite hiking sock. This full-length Merino-blend hiking sock is best for adventuring during the Fall, Spring, and Winter months in cold to warm temperatures. Its performance extends to all types of weather conditions including cold and wet to sunny and dry. Be sure to check out the different sizing options for both men and women.

Performance Comparison


The Darn Tough Full Cushion is our favorite for hiking all sorts of distances. This sock works great with a boot or shoe and is available with both a men and women's specific fit.
The Darn Tough Full Cushion is our favorite for hiking all sorts of distances. This sock works great with a boot or shoe and is available with both a men and women's specific fit.

Comfort


This sock is comfortable and meant for all-day wear. It is constructed of 66% Merino wool, 32% nylon, and 2% lycra spandex, to provides excellent cushioning underfoot with a streamlined fit.


Putting it on is like slipping your foot into a soft, breathable blanket. The Merino wool blend is soft to the touch, while the spandex and lycra keep the sock from slipping down while adventuring. The compression paneling concentrated around the arch of the foot and the ankle provides additional support without allowing it to bunch on the trail. We loved the length of the sock that easily accommodates a hiking boot. As a result, its a perfect sock for everything from day hikes to long thru-trails. Overall, the Full Cushion sock is super cozy, though it's not the most comfortable contender out there.

A look at the internal anatomy of this full cushioning sock. It offers plush comfort through the leg and around the circumference of the foot. The fit is specific with elastic fabrics and a well-engineered toe box.
A look at the internal anatomy of this full cushioning sock. It offers plush comfort through the leg and around the circumference of the foot. The fit is specific with elastic fabrics and a well-engineered toe box.

This Editors' Choice is streamlined to fit like a lightweight sock but with mid-weight cushion. The forefoot and heel feature a little more extra to help provide more comfort in areas of high use - but not too much that the fabric can't breathe.

Wicking and Breathability


Featuring a fine gauge Merino wool blend, this sock wicks and breathes. Our testers took it running, backpacking, and hiking, where it excelled in warm to cool weather conditions. The fitted design wicks moisture away from the skin and pushes it to the outside of the fabric, keeping skin dry. We also notice that water beads on the fabric (not immediately absorbing) which provides excellent wicking capabilities. This makes it an ideal three-season sock option, best for fall, spring, and winter.


Even though it is thick, it is one of the most breathable of all thick socks. It is ideal for running on cold winter mornings, keeping feet dry even with high-intensity activity. That said, there is a limit to what it can do. Given its high boot height, it's not recommended for wear on super hot days.

A look at the breathable fabric around the calf that keeps legs dry on warmer days.
A look at the breathable fabric around the calf that keeps legs dry on warmer days.

Warmth


Boasting the best insulation, the Darn Tough Full Cushion is quite warm and does well in most weather conditions. The blend of materials does a great job at insulating feet when wet and dry. We appreciate a tall sock that provides additional warmth on cold days. In our testing, we observed that this contender kept our feet warm in temperatures in the low 20s (degrees Fahrenheit) while hiking and standing around.


When splitboarding in Alaska, we could wear this sock all day. We would hike and ski, make dinner, then go to bed. Even though it's recommended to change your socks in these cold temperatures, we didn't need to. The material insulates well and kept our feet warm all night, even when the temps dipped below freezing.

Here we take a splitboarding tour  exploring the Alaskan mountains. The Darn Tough Full Cushion sock functions well as both a ski and hiking sock option.
Here we take a splitboarding tour, exploring the Alaskan mountains. The Darn Tough Full Cushion sock functions well as both a ski and hiking sock option.

Durability


Like the name infers, this sock is true to being "Darn Tough". It, like all other socks from Darn Tough, has scored high in this category. The high-density merino wool construction provides durability for years to come. In our testing, we put it through the wringer. We wore it while trekking through varying microclimates of the high Peruvian Andes for a month. We took it splitboarding in the Central Alaska mountain range for a week. We also went backpacking through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.


Over the last years we've logged upwards of 200 miles that include hard hiking, running, and snowboarding, and in the end, we only noticed some pilling around the heel and midfoot. For a hiking sock, this is truly impressive. What's more, is the Darn Tough Full Cushion comes with a lifetime warranty - like all Darn Tough products. This means that if you get a hole in the material, you can send it back for a brand new pair. That said, if it's served you well and you like Darn Tough, do them a solid and just buy another pair to support a company that makes exceptional products.

Even after 60 miles of use we didn't see any serious fabric compaction or pilling. We were truly impressed with this Darn Tough sock!
Even after 60 miles of use we didn't see any serious fabric compaction or pilling. We were truly impressed with this Darn Tough sock!

Drying Speed


We are pretty impressed with how well this sock did in our updated drying test. First, of all the socks tested, it absorbed only 114% of its weight in water, which is the least of any other sock. When putting it in the dryer on low heat, it only took 70 minutes to dry, which is similar to the time it took lightweight contenders to dry out. In the field, we noticed that the fabric does a pretty good job of drying out through the length of the sock, though the foot of the sock can get swampy if not properly ventilated with the right footwear. Aside from that, we'd say that it offers a great rate of drying! Thus, we would recommend it for wet climates and weather.


Navigating the snow slopes while hiking up to Island in the Sky on an early Spring hike in the San Juan mountains. This sock provides good wicking to keep the feet dry  even when shoes and socks are both wet.
Navigating the snow slopes while hiking up to Island in the Sky on an early Spring hike in the San Juan mountains. This sock provides good wicking to keep the feet dry, even when shoes and socks are both wet.

Value


Don't let the high price of this sock scare you. For the price, you get a lifetime guarantee paired with fantastic durability. In our eyes, while the price is high, the value is there and worth each additional penny spent.

Jared hikes  snowboards  and hangs out in the Darn Tough Full Cushion sock. Talk about great comfort and versatility! Take this quick-drying sock everywhere from backcountry skiing to day hiking to backpacking.
Jared hikes, snowboards, and hangs out in the Darn Tough Full Cushion sock. Talk about great comfort and versatility! Take this quick-drying sock everywhere from backcountry skiing to day hiking to backpacking.

Conclusion


The Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion sock is our favorite sock overall. It features a tall boot cut, with great durability and amazing performance through a wide range of conditions. Use it on your next thru-hike or exploration of your local landscape. It comes in both men and women's specific sizes.

The Darn Tough Full Cushion is our favorite hiking sock for all types of adventures. A great option for those seeking a versatile  all-around sock that will keep you protected on the trail.
The Darn Tough Full Cushion is our favorite hiking sock for all types of adventures. A great option for those seeking a versatile, all-around sock that will keep you protected on the trail.


Amber King